Home based Super Eagles coach Salisu Yusuf has charged his wards to put Sunday’s result behind them and focus firmly on the next game this Saturday.
Nigeria lost 1-0 to neighbours Benin in the first leg of their 2018 African Nations Championships final qualifier at the Stade de l’Amitie in Cotonou. The Squirrels scored the only goal of the game late on from the penalty spot to take a slender advantage into the second leg at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano.
Yusuf knows football-crazy Nigerians will not take any excuse from the team in the event of any failure and so is moving forward after Sunday’s loss.
“We have started thinking on the next game already. We need to make corrections on our performance on Sunday where we need to and do the right things. We don’t have time to dwell on Sunday’s game and we are moving on,” Yusuf told ACLSports.
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“Certain players did not play to their level on Sunday but we have to move on from that now and strategize for Saturday.”
The Nigerian side are already in Kano, their camp base and venue of Saturday’s return leg and will start preparations fully on Tuesday evening with a scheduled training at the Stadium’s main bowl.
Many Nigerians were surprised to see Nigeria Professional Football League topscorer Stephen Odey out of the starting lineup on Sunday but Yusuf insists he still remains an integral part of the team.
“Odey is a good player, and we have many good players in the team. His omission from the start is part of our strategy and we don’t have any regrets about that. He did well when he came in the second half and we are happy with that,” said Yusuf.
Yusuf who once worked at NPFL side Kano Pillars, owners of Saturday’s venue is also hopeful that Kano fans can make the difference between the two sides.
“Our fans are always the 12th man and here in Kano, we always have great support. Right from my time with Kano Pillars and El-Kanemi, I know our people love football and their support can make a big difference for us.
“We shall do our best to overturn the deficit and being a (synthetic) turf that we have trained on for three weeks, I am optimistic we will qualify for Kenya 2018.”